Wankel Engine


There are several types of engines that work by means of internal combustion . One of these engines is known by the name of the wankel engine or rotary engine as it is also known in the world of mechanics.

What is a wankel engine?

The wankel engine is a type of engine that works by means of internal combustion which uses a series of rotors to be able to function properly and that develops its work in four times which occur in different places.

  • Characteristics of the wankel engine
  • Story
  • Wankel engine parts
  • How does it work
  • What is it for
  • Advantage
  • Disadvantages
  • Importance of the wankel engine

Characteristics of the wankel engine

Among the main characteristics of the wankel engine, the following are mentioned:

  • They are engines that run on gasoline .
  • They have a quieter and fairly smooth operation .
  • It takes place in four times .
  • It uses a series of rotors instead of using traditional pistons.
  • It is a type of reciprocating engine .
  • In its cylinder there are four jobs successively: intake , compression , combustion and exhaust .
  • It has fewer moving parts .
  • The running of this engine is smoother and produces fewer vibrations.


The first rotary engines emerged in the year 1588 , however, it took a long time for them to have a better construction. One of the first to be developed was the Otto cycle engine in 1876 . Many ideas arose during these years, in 1759 , James Watt was able to make the first rotary piston steam engine, in 1903 , John Cooley also made a wankel engine and in 1908 , Umpleby applied the technique to internal combustion. However, it never evolved.

The wankel engine was named in honor of the man who created it, Doctor Felix Wankel. He manufactured it in 1924 and managed to patent it in 1929 . He devoted much of his work to improving the design and this is how these engines were created with smoother , quieter and more reliable operation . In 1959 , the German-owned factory that produced motorcycles and small cars, NSU gave the announcement that Wankel had succeeded in properly building the engine. From this moment, many companies managed to acquire the licenses for the construction of the engine.

Wankel engine parts

The parts that make up the wankel engine are the following:

  • Intake and exhaust ports: these ports are located on one side of the casing and their function is to allow the entry and exit of gases.
  • Spark plugs : these parts are on the opposite side of the ports and are responsible for generating the ignition spark.
  • Epitrochoid – This is the motor housing and is shaped like an ellipse. It is the engine cylinder and in it there are chambers and holes through which the coolant can circulate.
  • Skates : they are a series of segments that are located at the vertices and are responsible for maintaining radial sealing on the sides.
  • Blades : found in the channels towards the sides of the rotor.
  • Drive shaft pinion: this pinion is in charge of meshing, using a toothed ring that is located on the inside of the rotor.
  • Combustion chamber : they are responsible for completing the cycle in each of the revolutions made by the rotor.

How does it work

The operation of the wankel engine is based on the principle of internal combustion engines. These principles are.

  • Admission : after the gases escape, the admission of the new mixture begins. The engine chamber increases its volume as the rotor turns, while the shaft is dragged and then the mixture begins to be introduced.
  • Compression – At this stage, the intake port is closed and the chamber is then reduced in size. It is at this time that compression of the mixture occurs. After the chamber is reduced to the minimum volume then the compression of the mixture occurs at the maximum causing the spark to jump and ignite the mixture.
  • Explosion : it occurs through the pressure exerted by the gases that are produced during the combustion process. The rotor then turns abruptly and makes this movement reach the motor shaft by means of the crown pinion gear, thus producing the ignition of the mixture.
  • Exhaust : the gases that are burned are expelled to the outside and are pushed through the movement of the rotor. This phase complements the cycle.

What is it for

The wankel engine is used to produce better propulsion in automobiles, computers, and some portable machines. It works very well to be able to deliver a number of high power and weight ratios , as well as producing an excellent amount of fuel energy density . It is used to mobilize cars, motorcycles, boats, trains and airplanes.


Among its main advantages we can mention that this type of engine has fewer moving parts which makes it more reliable and safe . The running of this engine is much smoother than rotary engines since it is balanced with an intermittent rotating counterweight that is responsible for avoiding any type of vibration . The rotation speed is much lower due to the fact that the parts of the motor move more slowly and for this reason there are no dead spots .

In addition, wankel engines produce a lower amount of vibrations because the inertias that occur in their internal part are practically non-existent and these are generated only in the eccentric part. Finally, it has a lower weight since they are generally built with two or three rotors.


Among their disadvantages we can mention that wankel engines produce a large amount of emissions considered as pollutants since they consume a greater amount of air, oil and fuel, increasing the production of toxic gases . The maintenance costs of this engine are very high and it is quite difficult since not many mechanics know well the operation of the engine. It has a level of tightness that is quite difficult, since it is more difficult for them to isolate each of the rotor sections so that it can function properly.

This engine must have excellent synchronization between the components in order to prevent the mixture from igniting when the rotating piston is in an inappropriate position. Finally, the wankel engine has a smaller engine brake and for this reason, vehicles that run on this type of engine need to have larger brakes.

Importance of the wankel engine

The wankel engine is important because it has the ability to provide greater reliability to the driver while providing greater safety . Its absence of intake and exhaust valves make this engine avoid a series of difficulties that arise in four-stroke engines. In addition, its rotary mechanism makes it possible to balance the static and dynamics of the engine in a better way, making it more smooth in terms of operation, compared to other types of reciprocating engines.

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